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Sometimes touching, often surprisingly biting and poignant
A sitcom about a widow, her mother and her daughter living in three flats under one roof would never get made today - some producer with an eye on the under 25 market would probably insist on it being three young girls flatsharing. But back in the 80s, After Henry was the sort of gentle yet clever sitcom that thrived on British screens. The relationships between Sarah, Eleanor and Claire were so realistic you could imagine they really were related, with Prunella Scales successfully shaking off memories of Sybil Fawlty. Joan Sanderson as Eleanor is the real star here though. Sanderson may have ended up typecast as the slightly snooty, abrupt old woman, but like many typecast actresses, she ended up that way because she played that part so well.
The show seemed to be running slightly short on ideas in its final run, but was still well worth watching. Sadly, Joan Sanderson died just before the 1992 run was transmitted, so the decision over whether to commission a further series was made for ITV. In a way, this may have saved the show from an undignified end, as suburban sitcoms suddenly became very unfashionable in the recession struck early 90s. A shame really, as all ITV's attempts at 'modern' urban sitcoms were appalling.
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